Saints part ways with veteran RB Betts, agent says

Running back Ladell Betts' comeback from a serious knee injury is on hold for now.

The New Orleans Saints released the former longtime Washington Redskins starter Friday, his agent, Anthony Agnone, confirmed in an e-mail.

Betts has been trying to come back from an injury last November in which he tore ligaments in his left knee. He played against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night, rushing seven times for 38 yards and catching four passes for 21 yards.

Instead of sticking with Betts, who was vying for a backup role behind Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas, the Saints elected to hold onto fourth-year pro DeShawn Wynn.

Wynn's agent, David Canter, confirmed in an e-mail that his client, who also plays special teams, remained on the active roster. Wynn rushed seven times for 31 yards against Tennessee.

Although Sean Payton said Friday that he has made many of his final cuts, the coach wouldn't immediately announce the names of players who have been released. However, two people familiar with the Saints' roster moves said other players who have been cut include backup quarterback Patrick Ramsey, defensive end Bobby McCray, defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy, backup center Nick Leckey and second-year safety Chip Vaughn.

Players who survived the cuts include second-year quarterback Chase Daniel, rookie defensive end Junior Galette, rookie running back Chris Ivory and third-year wide receiver Adrian Arrington, according to the two people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hadn't announced its 53-man roster.

Arrington caught three passes for 78 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown, in the Saints' preseason finale at Tennessee. Galette blocked a punt that was recovered for a touchdown. He also made six tackles, including a sack.

"Last night's game helped some players," Payton said Friday without mentioning names. "Certainly it's part of the equation. When you take four exams back in school, that fourth exam means something, and we got a lot of playing time with a lot of players last night."

McCray, who started against the Titans, has now been released twice by this year by the Saints, who also cut him in late June, then decided shortly before training camp to give him another look.

NFL teams had a Saturday afternoon deadline to trim rosters to the regular-season maximum of 53 players, and younger players who have been released, such as Vaughn, still had a chance to be signed to the Saints' practice squad Sunday afternoon if they cleared waivers.

The Saints began Friday with 77 players on their roster, including two -- safety Darren Sharper and linebacker Clint Ingram -- on the physically unable to perform list. On Friday, Payton declined to discuss the status of the two players, but league sources told that Sharper and Ingram will remain on the PUP list. The move will keep both players out of action for at least the first six weeks of the season.

Payton said he was giving players Saturday off before they return Sunday to practice and go over the game plan for the Minnesota Vikings, who'll visit the Louisiana Superdome on Thursday night for the NFL's regular-season opener.

The 2010 Saints will have few key differences from the team that won the Super Bowl last season. The biggest changes will be on defense, with Alex Brown, who joined the team as a free agent, starting at the left end spot that McCray held in all three playoff games last season.

The Saints also needed a new starting linebacker after Scott Fujita's departure to the Cleveland Browns in free agency. Jonathan Casillas appeared to have won that role, but he left the preseason finale with an undisclosed foot injury. Payton had no update on Casillas or on Ivory, who left the game with a knee injury.

Overall, the coach sounded upbeat about how his team came through the preseason.

"I feel good about this team, knowing the locker room we have and what we've just accomplished and where we're going," Payton said. "How we handle injuries is going to be important. Can we correct the penalties that seemed to be at a higher rate this preseason than I would have liked? But I like this team. I like this team a lot."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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